2 Years Feel Like 20

2 years feel like 20 is where I am when I travel back in time to 2019. Why does it feel like 20? Why? Why? Why?

How can it be this long already?

Just the other day I put a post on “Mourning Thoughts” my new daily thoughts about grief and not just the grief from a husband or wife dying. There are many other reasons people grieve and I wrote about those reasons for a magazine this month that can be found here soon: http://www.brainzmagazine.com/

I am also working on the outline for the next book and most of it has already been written. It will be tedious at first for me to work on because I have to go back through 2 years of morning posts I wrote on Facebook and organize them into a book about strength.

A friend suggested it recently and I smiled because I already had the idea and it will be implemented soon.

2 years. 2 years ago doctors were not being honest with us. They were telling us he was making improvements. They built our hopes up daily until one day they just signed off his case without saying a GD word to me. They walked off and explained nothing. I hated them then, I still hate what they did to this day.

When I talk about moving from Florida to SC I say it was due to all the memories. That is not 100% true. It is also because I couldn’t stand to see TV ads for that hospital. I couldn’t stand to drive past that hospital. I changed doctors because my doctor’s office was across the street from that hospital.

4 years ago a surgical error changed Larry’s heart and his life. I am glad I left Tampa.

My wonderful loving husband’s life was changed and shortened and the surgeon who made the mistake admitted it to me. He whispered it in my ear that he was to blame after he repaired the mistake.

Yes, 2 years feels like 20.

Your Own Best Friend

One of the most difficult things I have found here in the wilderness of my grief is when a grief bomb explodes and scatters shards of desperation in every direction.

There is nowhere to hide, nowhere to take cover and no warning that this is about to happen, it just happens.

When Larry first died I changed my Facebook settings to disallow memories to show up because those photos are always going to cause a cascade of reactions that no one can just wish away.

No, we are hit with them and many times we feel we have nowhere to turn for help. It is so difficult to call a friend or family member (again) and ask them to listen to what just happened.

It is a conundrum.

Our friends and family may not even pick up the phone because we may have tired them out. In my world, I don’t want to bother anyone. Sharing my emotional pain may make me feel better but I just made someone else feel frustrated.

This is when we need to become our own best friends. You can do it, I have done it.

When the bomb explodes concentrate on your breathing and slow it down. Follow this with affirmative statements about how far you have come. I tell myself “Carole, you’ve got this.” It works almost all the time.

I was interviewed for a podcast show today and the topic of dogs came up in our discussion and the host could hear the tears in my voice as I spoke about the day I took my precious little Willie to the vet clinic knowing I would be coming home alone. There are so many photos of her on my phone, on social media, and in frames throughout my home. Some people would think it is just a dog, but no. Willie was the last anchor to Larry. She was my adorable little Bichon with one eye. My heart is still broken over her death.

Grief is the opposite of love so yes seeing photos of her always hurt and probably always will.

I look at her photos and remind myself how much she was loved and she knew it. Then I tell myself she is sitting on Larry’s lap and they are eating ice cream together just like they always did, and I smile.

With this pandemic we are called upon even more to be our own best friends. It is not easy, I know, but we can do it.

I OWE A HUGE DEBT OF GRATITUDE

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who believed in me, believed in my book, believed in my story and purchased my book before it launched.

You are all wonderful, loyal friends whom I deeply respect and you are all so very special to me.

Now the fun begins. I thought writing was the difficult part, no marketing the book and getting copies sold is harder. I busted butt all weekend signing up for different sites, getting Amazon organized, writing marketing pieces, designing marketing pieces. I am blessed I can do all this because I know how expensive I was when I did it for people!

Oh, I am sure there are people who would like me to stop talking about it, but I can’t. I know this book will touch the hearts of many as well as help people dealing with the grief from the death of a spouse, a partner or a lover. We are never prepared for this, who wants to be?

We fall in love, we fall in love with our lives together, we fall in love with forever only forever is an individual thing and as much as I know Larry loved me until his dying breath his forever was shorter than mine.

If you know anyone you believe could be helped by this book please let them know about it, or gift it to them. We do not talk about grief, we do not understand it until it happens to us, and death, well that is never dinner time conversation, is it?

I will be including photo reviews of my book from time to time from people who took the time to read it and share their thoughts.

Again, dear friends, thank you.

Love,

Carole

Beautiful review from Donnalynn S.

IS THAT YOUR HUSBAND?

Is that your husband? I looked down at the phone in my hand and looked back at my new dentist and my face crumbled behind my mask. She was immediately cognizant of the fact that his handsome face was a memory for me now and as the tears started to fall from my eyes, her face crumbled too.

Soon we were both standing there with tears on our cheeks as she asked me his name.

I bit my lip to stop it from quivering and I tried to smile behind my mask and as I took a deep breath, she put her hand on my arm and the story spilled out along with more tears.

This is how grief sneaks up on us with no warning. This is why I advised readers of my book to share their grief with our doctors and dentists as well as other professionals. We deserve to have people speak kindlier and it really is okay to share our feelings – it is a self-protective maneuver.

Is that your husband? Yes, and he loved me more than he loved any other. I was the last and greatest love of his life. His name is Larry, and he will always be the love of my life.

Is that your husband? Yes, it is and the love of my life.

No Blue Christmas This Year

There is absolutely no blue Christmas this year in my home. I doubt it if there will ever be a blue Christmas and I say that unequivocally because of ALL the progress I made since last Christmas.

I have been reading some articles on grief, and one sticks out like a sore thumb. It is a topic I wrote about in “Fractured-Living with Grief” and it showed up again not only as an article in a blog I follow but also a perfect example landed in my life when I wasn’t looking.

I can describe it in 2 words “grief bullies”.

To be honest, I have not had to deal with a grief bully in over a year until recently. In my case I know that the incident in my life is due to the person not understanding grief at all.

Losing the love of your life is something only other widows and widowers can truly understand but don’t clothe it in telling me that you are concerned about my loneliness.

First and foremost, I don’t mind being alone. Next get unstuck from over a year ago and realize who I was then and who I am now are two different people. Being alone and being lonely are two distinctly different things.

When I actually made the decision to move to South Carolina I had many moments of stressful occurrences. However, I was ready to do this. My heart was ready, my head was ready and I am just fine 99% of the time. I found that out when I created my Thanksgiving Day/birthday meal. BAM just like that I faced a holiday that a year ago was filled with pain because this time around I had completed the PTSD therapy that had vanquished the trauma.

I have skated through the Christmas season with all the decorations I still have from our marriage, with the favorite scented candles, with a beautiful tree and I mailed Christmas cards. Let’s not forget I have music on all the time and it lifts me up.

Just because I voiced some concern before turkey day is no reason to think I couldn’t make it through. I MADE IT THROUGH. All is well in my house, in my head, in my heart and in my life.

Has that grief bully ever asked me how I am really doing this year, in a word, NO. My biggest mistake was ever sharing a momentary fear. Lesson learned.

One more thing I want to say this Christmas Eve – it is never okay to criticize anyone who is grieving. Ever.

What Are the Chances?



Really, what are the chances?

I am sitting here in my office, and the TV is on and Kelly Clarkson’s talk show starts up and her only guest is Garth Brooks.

What are the chances I would turn the TV on at that moment and that the first two songs Garth would sing are “The Dance” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes”?

Earlier today I published an article on medium.com that I titled “The Sounds of Music”. In this article I wrote about how music has really helped me in life and how I finally had the courage to listen to songs that were songs from our marriage and our love.

What are the chances that Garth would sing 2 songs that have honor the depth of my grief with “The Dance” and then the song that brought Larry to tears every time he heard it? Larry would look at me and ask me that question. My answer was always the same. I told him I would know every day for the rest of my life how much he loved me if tomorrow never comes. If that is bad grammar, oh well.

Larry’s tomorrows stopped and all I need to do is look at the photo on the back cover of my book to see how much he loved me.

Then I think back to filling out the form to join an online dating site 22 years ago – I mean what were the chances that my answers would touch the heart of a man who would tell me “Forever’s As Far As I’ll Go” and mean it.

By the way, I listened to Garth and I wrote this article too without tears. You see I find joy in the memories of the love.

If you want to read my article on medium.com here is the link:

https://carolesanek.medium.com/the-sounds-of-music-17211c0fe179

December 11, 1998

Chicago winters are nasty, and there I was sitting at my computer
asking myself did I really accept a date for dinner with
a man I had never met and walk three long blocks, freezing my
fanny off ? What was I thinking?


The truth is a good friend had convinced me to sign up for an
online dating service, and I was down to my last few days of having
free access to it, but free also meant I couldn’t see any photos of the
men there, nor could they see me. This truly was a blind date.
Doing this definitely took courage because either one of us could
have been a dud, and then what? Yes, this took bravery along with a
dose of what the hell was I thinking because it was freezing outside.
I primped. Who doesn’t want to look terrific on a first date?
Then again, who looks for a new relationship during the holidays?


My brain kept telling me that the men on the site were probably
trying to get lucky, I mean why else would they join at the holidays?
It is like admitting they were bums that had gotten tossed out.
Never mind the fact that I also had joined at the holidays.
I had returned to Chicago from living in Costa Rica with a stop in
Detroit to visit friends before coming back to the windy city. On top
of all of this, I was still married, although the divorce was imminent.


I primped some more. I won’t lie, I went for a sexy look with
a mini-skirt and low-cut top, and I added a spritz of “Obsession,”
my signature scent. I walked the three long blocks to the restaurant
he had chosen in low-heeled shoes, still slipping and sliding
along the way.



I walked into the restaurant, and the world stopped spinning
for a minute. There he was, just as he had described, tall with a
beautiful head of silver hair, and a look on his face that told me
he appreciated what he was looking at, and in fact that look told
me he felt as if he had won the lottery. I knew I had already won it.


It was a noisy Friday evening, people were laughing and
talking, but all I could hear was the beat of my heart as I walked
up to this amazingly sexy man. His smile lit up the room, and for
the first time in a long time I was speechless.


We laughed through dinner; we told our stories, and suddenly
the check arrived and all I could think was I had to come up with
something to keep this evening going. I wasn’t ready to say goodnight,
and I had a feeling he felt the same way.


I suggested we take a walk over to Marshall Fields on State
Street to look at the holiday windows without giving a thought
to the fact that my skimpy attire was iffy for windy and blowy
Chicago winter nights.


We were not that far from the restaurant when I realized I
was having a wardrobe malfunction. I was wearing thigh-high
nylon stockings, and they were slipping in the frosty weather.
Undoubtedly this was because my thighs had shrunk from the
cold, and it was all I could do to walk normally while occasionally
trying to hike them back up.


I have always been a bold woman, and what I should have
done was just stop and peel them off. But no, I continued to keep
them where they belonged in the name of keeping this date going
by doing some strange convoluted-looking dance.


Weeks later, when I admitted this to Larry, he laughed so hard
his face turned red, and he came right out and asked why I hadn’t
just peeled them off without missing a beat.

By this time, he had already learned how bold I could be, and the bolder I was, the harder he fell.


Yes, in looking back, that was the magical night when we
both began to heal from our pasts and we both began to become
whole again.


#AuthoronFire

 

I am an #authoronfire. I realized this yesterday when a friend posted something that lit the fire in my heart.

This is what she wrote: There is a lot being said about 2020. While we have witnessed, and maybe even personally experienced, traumatic situations, we are still here… still here.

I don’t know about how that feels for you, but it humbles me and strengthens my resolve to take all self-imposed limitations off of my life.

Without ignoring pain, sadness and suffering, I also recognize healing, joy and prosperity.

What are you going to do with the life you have? Thank you LaFern Kitt Batie.

Well, for me it was a simple answer. I am going to rock 2021 because I can and I will.

This week due to the necessity of being home to have workers in my house I am going to throw some energy at my vision board for 2021.

Larry always admired my ability to look into my future, our futures, and plan and dream for it all.

That ability did not end because he died,it got better, it got bigger, it grew to enormous heights.

My sadness will always be here. Grief doesn’t end. I will miss Larry until I am no longer here, but while I am here I will honor his beliefs in me.

He had my back. He still does.

I am an #authoronfire.

Dammit it Grief, it’s Christmas

Dammit grief, it’s Christmas go somewhere else. Stop showing up as if you are the ghost of Christmas past and bringing with you a carousel of memories. Be gone. It’s Christmas.

Maybe it showed up because I wrote that piece about not liking turkey. Oh well, I don’t like turkey. I am good with saying that, and while Larry loved it to the point of filling a freezer with leftovers, I do not miss seeing those containers that he would enjoy thawing to eat turkey and stuffing as long as he could.

I spent the weekend after Thanksgiving bringing Christmas into my new home. In anger and sadness I had sold so much of our decorations knowing I would never use them again. I kept the beautiful collection of Santa’s, the ornaments that meant the most to me, and the gnomes we bought on one of our holiday trips to Las Vegas.

I put the new tree up, and only shed some tears when I hung the ornaments we collected for our dogs. The tree was sparsely decorated so I added the antique ornaments from my parents, and then I opened the box of turquoise and gold ornaments from our bedroom tree. I separated out the gold from the turquoise and used the gold ones as filler for the empty spots. I look at my tree now and see it is a combination of what Larry and I collected, my parents, and our beautiful master bedroom tree. It is all good.

Christmas music fills the house, I light Larry’s favorite candles (he picked them all out) and I am happy with everything I see. While it is different from 21 years of decorating, it is all that I need at this time.

I sat with a glass of wine, a Christmas movie on the TV and that is when it happened. That is when grief blew in extinguishing the beauty of everything I had been enjoying. While I was sitting there I heard a car door close and for one damn moment I thought Larry was home.

Dammit grief go away.

Paying it Forward for December

Hello!

I am letting everyone know right here, right now that if you ordered a book in my pre-sale event last month or if you order one now through 12/14/2020 and you think you know someone who would or could benefit from reading it I will send them a digital copy of it on 12/28/2020.

I have an army of supporters who have ordered telling me they know others who should have a copy.

To do this all you have to do is send me an email to carolelsanek@fractured.life and include their email address (with their permission to receive a copy, please). I will be sending out emails to those who have already ordered it.

I am doing this to pay it forward from you and from me. My book is so important to me because my goal in writing it was to help others, but I couldn’t write it without including the love story that still lives on.

Thank you all so much.